Filmmaker Wes Craven has died at the age of 76, his family has announced. With a career spanning over 40 years, Craven was one of the most prolific horror directors of his generation and is responsible for slasher classics including A Nightmare on Elm Street and Scream.

Wes CravenFilmmaker Wes Craven has died aged 76.

The 76 year old died on Sunday afternoon surrounded by his loved ones at his Los Angeles home after suffering from brain cancer, his family said in a statement. “It is with deep sadness we inform you that Wes Craven passed away,” the statement read. “Our hearts are broken.”

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Craven had been suffering from ailing health over the past three years but had continued to work on projects. His latest film, The Girl in the Photographs, is scheduled to premiere at the 2015 Toronto Film Festival next month. He had also been working as an executive producer on MTV’s ‘Scream’ tv series.

Craven made his directorial debut in 1972 with The Last House on the Left, which he followed in 1977 with cult classic The Hills Have Eyes. But it was 1984’s A Nightmare on Elm Street which broke him into the mainstream. Although it cost less than $2 million to make it went on to gross $25 million at the box office and spawned eight sequels featuring the Freddy Krueger character.

In 1996 he scored another massive box office hit with Scream, which helped revive the slasher genre in the 1990s. The film which starred Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox David Arquette and Drew Barrymore eared $173 million at the box office worldwide.

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On twitter, Scream actress Courteney Cox paid tribute to Craven writing, “Today the world lost a great man, my friend and mentor, Wes Craven. My heart goes out to his family,” Actress Rose McGowan, who also starred in Scream, expressed her sympathies on twitter writing, “Shedding tears now. A giant has left us.”